Meeting HR Challenges with Innovative Technology Solutions

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

About this episode

Meeting HR Challenges with Innovative Technology Solutions

Host: Steve Boese

Guests: Amy Mosher, Chief People Officer at isolved & Julie Montgomery, Vice President of HR at Community First Credit Union

Today, Steve met with Amy Mosher and Julie Montgomery at the isolved Connect conference to talk about how HR leaders can tackle their challenges with innovative technology solutions.

– HR technology innovations and AI’s impact on leaders

– HR challenges and technology adoption

– Expanding talent pool through AI and diversity

– AI in HR and personalized experiences

– HR technology and AI adoption in a small organization


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:14
Hi everyone, and welcome to the HR Happy Hour Show. This is Steve Boese and I was recently at the isolved Connect Conference in Palm Desert California, where I had the chance to meet with and interview several members of the isolved leadership team as well some isolved customers, and we’re happy to share those conversations here on the HR Happy Hour Media Network. On today’s show, you’ll hear my conversation with Amy Moser, Chief People Officer at isolved, we had a chance to talk about new HR technology innovations and the impact of AI on leaders. We also had a chance to discuss how isolvedis improving employee experience and how it impacts business outcomes. And after that, Julie Montgomery joined the show. Julie is the Vice President of Human Resources at Community First Credit Union. We talked about HR challenges they face and how technology can streamline the processes to positively affect an organization. Thanks again to my friends at isolved for having me and we hope you enjoy the show.

Steve 1:14
We’re back at isolved Connect. I’m Steve Boese. I’m joined by Amy Moser, Chief People Officer at isolved. Amy, how are you?

Amy Mosher 1:20
I’m very good. It’s a pleasure to be here. Steve.

Steve 1:22
Thank you for being here. It’s great to see you.

Amy Mosher 1:23
Nice to see you as well.

Steve 1:25
You told me before we started recording, you like to be a busy person. You enjoy it. I think you’ve picked the right place to come and the right day to be busy is a crazy event.

Amy Mosher 1:35
It is amazing and crazy. Like the very best part of everything that we do in HR is here. And it’s terrific to network with everyone. I mean, I’m learning so much more than the attendees here.

Steve 1:49
Let’s get into it. Amy, it’s been a big year for isolved. A big fun, successful challenging, but kind of exhilarating year from the the updates we got this morning at the keynote, what are some of your kind of reflections back on the last 12 months since the last Connect?

Amy Mosher 2:07
What a ride. It’s not just it’s not even a roller coaster, you couldn’t even call it that because it’s all been kind of uphill, to be honest.

Steve 2:15
That’s definitely not a roller coaster. That’s a mountain climb.

Amy Mosher 2:20
It really has been it’s been incredible, the absolutely, most exciting year I’ve probably ever had in my career, I think the next one is going to be just as exciting. There’s so much going on in the world of HR, I mean, just the this AI and all of the predictive analytics that we’re going to be able to take advantage of right, it really is an incredible experience for HR, it’s going to enable us I think, to do more things that we’ve wanted to do as HR practitioners, the nice to haves, if you will, I feel like I’m lucky because I felt we get to do all of that we get to do the engagement, we get to do the DEIB work, we got to do be at the forefront of communication across the business and enablement. And there are a lot of HR departments and functions that don’t have an opportunity to do that. But I think if they really take advantage of some of this new technology and the new things that are happening around around HR that they will be able to do that in the future.

Steve 3:20
Yeah, Amy, it’s so fun for me to talk to CEOs and CHROs of HR companies or HR tech companies, because you’re kind of seeing both sides of things. Right? You’re You’re obviously have your own issues as Chief People Officer right with hiring with retention with development, leadership, development, all the things right. But you’re also in touch with an in tune with this huge customer community, right if I saw customers who have their challenges as well. So let’s let’s keep your first hat on first, right. And we’ll talk about some of the things that communities telling you. Are you guys facing the things we hear most organizations facing in terms of hey, board for talent still out there, we got to make sure we’re engaging people and adapting to people, and whether it’s hybrid work, whether it’s, you know, more creative ways of compensation and benefit plans. I’d love for you to comment a little bit about just what your CPO hat on a little bit.

Amy Mosher 4:16
Sure. So yes, we see all of the same challenges that the rest of the industry and other industries, you know, from a talent acquisition and retention perspective, the challenge for us is that we’re not waiting for the trend to occur where foreseeing the trend happening before it actually does. I think when you’re in HCM, you really do have to be at the forefront of HR, you’re trying out new things that maybe you haven’t seen before. Yeah, you’re being a little more creative from an HR perspective. And that is incredibly rewarding.

Steve 4:46
Yeah. Are there one or two things that are that can be technology related? They don’t have to be but there are one or two things as you think back over the last a couple of years, hey, this has really been effective for us whether it’s a leadership development program Hypro program, it’s Maybe reaching out to more diverse candidate pools. What is there some one or two HR talent kind of programs that come to mind that you look back on and say, Yeah, that was that was a good one for us.

Amy Mosher 5:08
Absolutely. And I’m going to steal one, one of the things that you said, and it’s really reaching out to, I think underutilized. Talent, okay. And it’s things like our reach out across military, and military spouses enablement work that we do in identifying, you know, moms and stay at home, and work remote. It’s looking at talent pools that you may not have thought of as being skilled talent pools in the past and enabling them to have better different skills that are better utilized across your business. And that is an area where I think it’s allowed us to be even more effective. We’ve grown significantly over the last three years. And not just in replacement hires, we don’t have a high level of attrition, honestly. But we do have a lot of need for new and different skill sets. And so we’re starting to think about how do we upskill our existing or existing employee base instead of going out and finding new talent, right? Or how do we bring in brand new talent that doesn’t have a lot of skill set yet, and upskill them? And so I think we’re gonna see this trend and enablement happen very, very soon, a lot of what James was talking about earlier today, and its connection to AI, but for us, we’ve seen it over the last year really evolving into more of an enablement function than probably anything else, both from a talent acquisition perspective, and from an internal development person.

Steve 6:38
Yeah, me, thank you for sharing some of those examples, right? If some of the programs you’ve done here, and I saw it, then that really resonates with us as well here on the show, because we spent a lot of the last couple of years focusing on access to opportunity, right. And so that goes hand in hand with this idea of let’s expand the talent pool as we search for talent as we look for the skills that we need. And we look for the skills we need in the future. Right. So things like moms who maybe left the workforce and are ready to reenter, we did a show about that. We’ve done a couple of shows with you didn’t mention this. But I we’ve done a couple of shows with helping formerly incarcerated individuals reenter the workforce to have access to opportunity. And we’ve certainly we’ve done a few episodes over the last couple of years on military veterans. Yeah, right. And helping them transition back to the courts. Those are all great examples of ways organizations can think a little bit more expansively about talent, right? And that makes sense, right? Because James talked about this morning in the keynote a little bit about thinking about skills, you know, in hiring land, and maybe de emphasizing maybe they’re ignoring the de emphasizing some of the traditional requirements for a job. But you think about two.

Amy Mosher 7:44
It definitely is, in fact, we implemented a new behavioral interview process this year, that really focuses on how an individual has worked and addressed opportunities or come up with solutions in the past, not necessarily what they’ve done, but the how they’ve done it, and how that might translate into our own culture, and the new roles that we have, that we’re hiring for everyday. So it’s a lot more about fit, if you will, that it is about prior experience. And we feel like because we’ve addressed the enablement opportunity, and we’re retraining so much internally, and doing a great job, I would toot our own horn unfair on. People who do the work, like I’ve just in on a daily basis of their ability to just get people up to speed so quickly, and understand their learning habits, and you know, really, really go deep in that. But I am really excited about hiring individuals who may not have done the jobs before, but have those attributes that we feel like are so important to our culture and the behaviors that we feel like we’ll be able to translate to these roles. It is really interesting. And that has really broadened our scope.

Steve 8:55
I really love that. And I love how it creates. It creates a more diverse place to work as well, doesn’t it? Right, because you’re not just going to the same hiring pools the same in an active college recruiting or not, you know, going to the same half a dozen schools every year, right, which a lot of organizations, you know, have fallen into the relationships, right?

Amy Mosher 9:15
And once you’ve got you’ve had some success somewhere you want to repeat that success.

Steve 9:18
Yeah, Amy, one of the big themes that sort of now bridges your kind of two hats, you sort of were here right and I still have your CPO hat, but as well as your sort of, I don’t know if advocate or cheerleader for the customer community. I don’t know what the right word is. You didn’t use that word. I made that word. Let’s call it that for now. Is this idea of we had so much this morning and all year really about AI and automation and just it’s turned this industry on its head? Yes, quite frankly. I saw there’s two questions that I’m sort of asking everybody these questions I think I’m gonna I’m gonna meet with here and I solve Kinect which is one I’d love your thoughts as a CPO about the the introduction of technologies like aI into the practice of HR. And secondly, do you think about the balancing act that I think many CPAs are thinking about, of keeping that human touch still there? Yes. Right. While we try to introduce all these powerful technologies at the same time, I love your thoughts, just talking about AI for a couple minutes.

Amy Mosher 10:19
So first of all, I am in love with the concept of additional AI just feel like predictive, any kind of predictive analytics are important to what we do, it’s enhancing our ability to address opportunity across our employee base, and to spend time on the people and things that we should be spending our time on. I think almost every HR practitioner out there can relate to not having enough hours in the day to touch as many people figuratively not literally. Like, we want to be able to spend more time doing the things that really add value, and that spending time with people. And we just don’t have enough hours in the day to do it. And this will allow us and give us more opportunity to do so. And I think you have to embrace it in that way. And it will make a lot of us, I think quite uncomfortable because many of us are not technologists, or we don’t necessarily have a background that then enables us to fully understand what AI means right to none of us know yet. And so there’s this, this level of learning that we’re all going to have to go through. And I am really personally excited about it. I feel like my strength is working directly with people one on one or in group settings. And I really feel like this will enable me to do that even more often.

Steve 11:38
Yeah, and I think you’re right, for the most part, I do think there’s an element of change management, been probably underlooked or overlooked, right? As we talk about the implementation of any new HR technologies. Are there any advice you might have for other chief people, officers, or heads of HR, or directors of HR, who are really thinking, like you are like minded in terms of the power and the opportunities here and these technologies, but might be facing maybe a little bit more old fashioned organization, one that’s a little more, less likely say, to embrace change, or employees even themselves who, you know, might be pushing back on, I want to pick up the phone and talk to someone in HR versus Chataway, or things like that, I’d love for you. Thoughts about that, and just embracing this stuff.

Amy Mosher 12:23
I feel like it makes it a little less scary. If you think about this as just being the next evolution of self service. If you can get through a certain level of self service with your culture, this you can address it in almost internally marketed in that way to say, look, it’s just a smarter level of self service, you’re just getting more predictive about the information that you’re being provided, right, honest. And that’s where I think AI will really start to blossom. And I feel like once you get some really good positive experience from that as an employee, right, and often with change, right, you need to see, you know, the cookies, bacon here is gonna be delicious. If they are right, and you know, people are enjoying it, you know, and you can make that first experience a positive one, you can introduce other experiences along the way and have a lot more trust in the change management process. So I feel like if you think of it that way, it makes it a little bit less scary. If you market it internally that way, just say like this is enhance self service to start, like, let’s just think about it that way. Right? You’re getting a more individualized experience, you’re getting more direct information that that analytics are saying that you need, yeah, to be more successful or to work faster and more efficiently. So you know, let’s embrace that, you know, it can only make you better, stronger, different. Right? There’s an opportunity there.

Steve 13:45
Amy, I love how you mentioned the individualized experience. In other word we’ve used for that it’s a personalized experience, right. And we we are seeing for sure, really good examples of how AI technology and other analytics types technologies will allow organizations to provide those personalized experiences to everybody and scale them right because that scaling is the real challenge because it’s easier to do some of these things when the organization is 50 people, 100 people. And once it gets to the point where you can’t remember everybody’s name, right, that’s mine. Yes, it becomes challenging to meet people exactly where they are. And for them to feel like you know them.

Amy Mosher 14:27
Yes, yeah. Yeah. This is real for me, right? We’re scaling as a business. We’re at about 2600 employees. Now, when I started, we were about 500. Right? So 5x In just a few years. You can’t I can’t know who everyone is, but I try very hard. I can tell I do my best. I do my best. But as a people person, it really grates on me that I can’t know who everyone is. And I can’t meet every new hire as they come on board. But I can’t give everyone the individualized experience to your point that they deserve it. And I feel like this is an enablement tool, right, that will enable us to still give them a personalized experience without having being able to know who they are right fully as a person. I, I think that there’s so much advantage here. And if we can mirror it, it doesn’t mean that the people, the individualized personal experience goes away from a people person a person perspective, it just means that you can spend more time doing the things that you really want to do and have actually a more, and this is, this is not going to sound right at all, have a more personalized experience one to one with someone else. If you’re gonna have time to do that. Yeah, right. But still, you’re I feel like it’s broadening our ability to reach out to other people in a more personalized way. I don’t think it’s inhibiting that at all.

Steve 15:46
Yeah, I think you’re right, Amy. And I think that’s almost like the paradox of these powerful technologies is that they do really have the potential, if they’re designed correctly, and they’re implemented empathetically, and administered by people who care, right? Like yourself and your team, that they have the ability to actually make HR even more human.

Amy Mosher 16:06
I do believe that I couldn’t agree more.

Steve 16:09
Amy, it’s been so good to see you. Thank you for taking a few minutes that you are the business person here at the event. I was told to get you for 15 minutes was a coup.

Amy Mosher 16:18
Oh, my pleasure.

Steve 16:20
Great to see you. And I hope you have a great rest of the conference.

Amy Mosher 16:23
Thank you. You as well.

Steve 16:25
Thank you so much. That was Amy Mosher. She is the Chief People Officer at isolved. We’ll be back with more from isolved Connect.

Steve 16:32
That was a really great conversation. Thanks again to Amy for joining me. Next up. Let’s talk to Julie Montgomery. Here’s my conversation with Julie.

Steve 16:41
We’re back live at isolved Connect in Palm Desert, California. And I’m joined by Julie Montgomery. She’s the Vice President of Human Resources at Community First Credit Union. Julie, how are you?

Julie Montgomery 16:51
I’m doing great. Thank you.

Steve 16:52
Thank you for taking a few minutes today.

Julie Montgomery 16:54
My pleasure. Glad to be here.

Steve 16:55
It’s a busy event. So I’m always glad we can wrangle someone off the floor and session for a couple minutes. So absolutely. Great to see you. First of all, Julie, maybe tell us a little bit about you. And then a little bit about Community First Credit Union.

Julie Montgomery 17:07
Oh, you bet. So I’m the Vice President of Human Resources. I’ve been with Community First Credit Union about five years though I’ve been in the human resources field about 20 years.

Steve 17:18
Where is Community First Credit Union?

Julie Montgomery 17:20
It’s a credit union in southeast Iowa. We have 21 branches kind of spread throughout southeast Iowa with about 285 employees total.

Steve 17:30
Right, right. Credit unions are an interesting business, right, because they’re like, kinda in the community, right. A real lifeblood of, I’m guessing some small towns, maybe?

Julie Montgomery 17:40
That’s kind of our motto was in the rural areas of Iowa and very, very community based and involved.

Steve 17:47
I love that. That’s great. Julie, is there like we’ve been talking to folks here at isolved Connect, HR leaders like yourself and about some of their challenges, some of the talent and people challenges maybe their organizations have faced over the last couple years? Or is there anything that comes out for you guys, that is it? Is it a hiring thing, retention development? What are some of the things that concern you as the head of HR there at the credit union?

Julie Montgomery 18:11
I think, you know, top of mind for a lot of leaders and HR leaders is retention. Okay. Turnover seems to have spiked in the last year or so. And I think it has impacted a lot of businesses, and a lot of individuals to be honest. So that’s something that we keep top of mind and try to keep a focal point on and see what we can do to enhance relationships with our employees to you know, for better retention.

Steve 18:37
Yeah, that’s one for sure. Right? Because I imagine when you have positions, that perhaps someone does leave, and you have positions that are hard to fill that that’s a direct line to customer service, I’d imagine right?

Julie Montgomery 18:48
Absolutely. And you know, it impacts not only the bottom, the bottom line, but also our culture and our morale, which is very important to all of us.

Steve 18:58
Yeah, it’s probably it’s like, many of the smaller organizations, especially in smaller parts of the country, smaller towns, have that sense of community, even inside the organization, its community first, it’s in your name. But it’s it feels like a community as well inside the walls.

Julie Montgomery 19:13
I would say absolutely. to that. And we’re very much known to be family orientated. And, you know, I hear that from new hires a lot too, is they feel like part of the family. And that’s really what we strive for.

Steve 19:24
Yeah, that’s great. So Julie, we’re here at isolved Connect, right? And it’s a tech conference, right? For customers of isoftbet and community members of isolved. I’d love for you to maybe share some thoughts about the role that HR technology, you know, I can be specific to isolved or more in general, you know, what it plays in your organization and maybe first we’ll talk about just kind of the HR function itself. What’s it helping you to do?

Julie Montgomery 19:50
Absolutely. So I would say you know, for sure streamlining processes, when I joined see first you know, that was a different time then when a lot of paperwork, a lot of forms were completed and uploaded. With the partnership that we have with isolved, we’ve been able to utilize different features in the system to streamline thing. processes that eliminates the paperwork. And and you know, really honestly saves times for our managers and our staff.

Steve 20:22
Yeah, yeah. How long? Have you been working with isolved on some of those projects? About six years? So pretty much entrenched and kind of got to know it and got to figure out where it’s going to make the most benefit for the organization. Absolutely.

Julie Montgomery 20:35
And that’s something we really partner with our team at isolved to is finding out what where our need is as a business. And what what features make sense for us? Yeah, realize?

Steve 20:47
And imagine that over time, you’ve maybe adopted more things and system and kind of put more. Yes, that has that kind of how it’s gone.

Julie Montgomery 20:54
Absolutely. You know, specifically I hire that comes to mind. Yeah, by the way is we have implemented with a partnership with with Eisav. We’ve implemented I hire and that has significantly streamlined our hiring processes. We’re able to hire typically, in roughly 20 days now. Okay, it was at one point 30 days or 90 days.

Steve 21:17
We were 20 days is outstanding. Yeah, pretty much in any measure, right? These days, right time to fill is gone through the roof over the last few years makes a big difference. Yeah, if you don’t mind me asking before that kind of was the process a little bit manual, a little bit disjointed. How did that work?

Julie Montgomery 21:33
Very manual job descriptions, we would post on boards ourselves currently.

Steve 21:41
Yeah, for sure. It’s super tedious. It’s funny, because I spend a lot of time talking about HR technology and in the HR technology space. And it’s easy to forget that lots of organizations out there only fairly recently, or maybe even haven’t yet digitized or automated whatever word you like, many of these kind of fundamental processes, there’s still lots of pretty manual processing going on out there. Right?

Julie Montgomery 22:08
I think it is ever evolving. And it just it will continue to change. And those that keep up with the changes will be successful. And, you know, make it part of the organization. I think that’s what’s see versus trying to do. Yeah. And it’s been super helpful.

Steve 22:24
Yeah, I’d love for you, Julie, if you could tell us a little bit about whether it’s I hire and recruiting or it’s other elements of the technology that you guys have implemented over the years? How do the employees respond to it? How do they feel about it? What kind of feedback do you get? With the introduction of new technology?

Julie Montgomery 22:42
Absolutely, I think it’s very positive, specifically to our new hires, we, we have a lot of connection with them, in the first probably 30, to 60 days of the new hire, and they talk about the experience they had with the onboarding process. And it’s very positive. And it’s just, it’s great to hear that and, you know, take takeaways, if there’s areas of improvement, which honestly, there really have been a lot more positive than any takeaways, but it’s been a real good experience. And I think it helps with retention, to be honest with you, too, because somebody’s coming on to into the organization, if they have a good onboarding experience. They’re going to feel safe about the company about the organization, right?

Steve 23:25
Because we’ve probably all had that job in our lives, right? Where you were super excited, right? To start that new position, whatever it was, right? Even when we’re younger now, whatever. And that first day or two, whether it’s a clunky system, or I showed up on that first day, no one’s ready for me or I don’t have a laptop assigned to me or you name it. I can’t even get in the building. All the things that can happen. But you do. We’re kidding a little bit, but you can certainly a new hire can certainly walk away with boy this these, this organization does not know what they’re doing. And what what am I doing here? Absolutely. Yeah. The so we’re at an HR tech conference at the Eisav connect conference. And I’ve certainly I feel like I’ve spent my entire year talking with people about AI. We heard some of it this morning as well. Is that something that’s on the radar? No, I don’t you sound like a fairly representative, small organization, United States organization, few 100 employees, etc. is AI something that’s on yet your mind as an HR leader?

Julie Montgomery 24:29
Absolutely. We just finished our strategic planning for the year. Okay. And that was most definitely on the agenda and top of mind, something that we’re looking into to see, you know, where do we go from here? How do we utilize that? Does it work for our business? Does it work for our staff, really just finding out the all the things that we need to know about it before we dive in too deep? Yeah. Most of the employers I believe are doing it this time.

Steve 24:54
That makes perfect sense. I certainly have heard some pushback from folks not pushback, maybe but just there. Taking a measured approach maybe that if that makes sense with in their thinking about things like security and data safety, Europe bank, right or credit union. I said that you’re in the financial services business, right. So certainly data security, though, it’s got to be, you know, top of mind throughout the organization. So imagine even certainly in HR In instances like this, data security is gonna be an issue as well.

Julie Montgomery 25:29
Absolutely. And we have an amazing IT team that will help us advance with that.

Steve 25:35
Do you have conversations? Or will you think you’ll have conversations with your partners, like isolved and others of bad bout? Hey, tell me tell me how this really works before we launch it into our ecosystem? Yeah, absolutely.

Julie Montgomery 25:48
That that will be on the radar, for sure.

Steve 25:49
That’s awesome. We’re here at the event. Is there anything you came here and maybe to learn? Or to maybe want to find out? Or, or any maybe go forward plans like, oh, boy, this new thing is coming? I’m excited about that. I’d love to think about like, what’s kind of the next side and oh, 12-18 months at Community First look like?

Julie Montgomery 26:08
So I came with a list of things to network and find out how can we and why would we? And some of those items on that list are around some of the features that isolved offers, such as scheduling, you know, what does that do for us? I have already networked with a few others in the event and found out that to be a very good resource. So that’s something we look, we look forward probably to the Q1 of next year.

Steve 26:37
Scheduling is a bear cue. I think payroll is the most complicated thing. Right, right. I think scheduling might be the next most complicated, there’s so many variables that go into creating a schedule that works for everyone.

Julie Montgomery 26:51
Especially when you have a credit union with, you know, 285 employees, and each branch has different hours. And everyone has different schedules. So there’ll be a lot of legwork. But I think at the end of the day, it’ll be worth it. Yeah. Well, we’ll have a lot of benefits from it.

Steve 27:06
Yeah. Great. It seems like a great partnership. You feel happy about how things have gone? Absolutely.

Julie Montgomery 27:12
I mean, I have a great relationship with the isolved team that we deal with on a daily basis. And my partner Theresa Marie, she does the payroll and benefits and she also has a great partnership.

Steve 27:27
That’s the hero here that talks about the heroes of HR, the payroll managers the hero Yeah, and benefits managers like the sidekick to the hero.

Julie Montgomery 27:35
That’s what absolutely right Absolutely.

Steve 27:38
Awesome. Well Julie, thank you so much for taking a few minutes to tell the story of Community First in Southeast Iowa. I have not spent enough time in Iowa. That’s for sure.

Julie Montgomery 28:04
You’re welcome to come anytime it comes. See me at see first I will. Absolutely.

Steve 28:08
Thank you so much. Really great to meet you. My pleasure. Thank you. Thanks for listening guys. This is Steve live from isolved Connect.

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